I once rented a house in the country for a few months in which to write. Every day, I started at six a.m. at the kitchen table, kept the curtains drawn, stayed in my pyjamas until lunchtime, stopped to shower, then back to write until at least eight most nights.
One day, shortly after one, the owner stopped by. She looked at me in my pyjamas, walked past, went into the living room, and threw open all the curtains. Then she said something along the lines of “do you ever start before lunchtime?” I can’t remember exactly because my brain started to implode when she went for the curtains.
But, could I blame her for the question? Short of me live-streaming the event, the house was no hive of activity. You’d need to live-stream the inside of my brain to get any sense of action. And that would be an information supershitshow.
And she couldn’t see what went on behind the curtains. But, even if she could, here are ten reasons why writing is the job that most closely resembles doing nothing:
- I am at home all day, mainly sitting down.
- I am at home all day and the housework still isn’t finished.
- I am wearing tracksuit bottoms, a vest, and thick socks, but not exercising (half-suit, no track).
- My desk looks like I’ve had a coffee morning with friends.
- Though I have the “run” of the house, my verb of action is “wander”.
- I stare into space while listening to cello playlists.
- Deadline time, my office looks like it’s been burgled around me and I just let it happen.
- Research involves not just reading books and reports, which appears diligent and professionally acceptable, but also searching the internet, watching documentaries, and being on the phone, sometimes laughing.
- I ignore any task that isn’t writing, leaving other, way more visible, tasks undone… while I “sit around” “doing what exactly”?
- Sometimes cutting and pasting is the biggest move I make.
Blog by Alex Barclay
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